Entertainment » Music

Listen UP!: Haim, Kacy Hill, Superfruit, Gracie & Rachel, Broken Social Scene

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Thursday Jul 13, 2017

Los Angeles sister-band Haim releases their sophomore album "Something to Tell You," after a long career with their musical family. Canadian alt-rock supergroup Broken Social Scene releases its fifth studio album, the first in seven years. Indie-pop duo Gracie and Rachel release their self-titled debut album, melding piano, violin and vocals in songs about art, with a Strokes-worthy black and white motif. Model/singer Kacy Hill releases her long-awaited debut album "Like a Woman," 12 tracks dealing with intimacy, longing, heartbreak and exploration. Superfruit, the pet project of Pentatonix founders Mitch Grassi and Scott Hoying, releases the first part of their two-part debut studio album, "Future Friends."


"Something to Tell You" (Haim)

Los Angeles sister-band Haim releases their sophomore album "Something to Tell You," after a long career with their musical family. It's a collection of 11 soft-rock hits that show the sisters' craft, with help from producer Ariel Rechtshaid. The three sisters range in age from 25-31, and say this is a coming-of-age album, with Danielle Haim noting, "It's definitely a record about growing up and figuring out your feelings, and working through different relationships." They kick things off with "Want You Back" singing about 'opposite lovers,' her with a wandering heart, him always trying to prove her wrong. It doesn't matter; she still wants you back. Haim's sound is often compared to Fleetwood Mac, and you can hear that in the second cut, "Nothing's Wrong," a tune about denial in the face of grief, as well as "You Never Knew," which sounds like pure Christine McVie as they sing, "I guess you never knew what was good for you." They try to capture a dreamlike night from the past in "Little of Your Love" and bargain for just a little more time in "Ready for You." The title song bares it all, the perfect storm of heartache and angst. In "Kept Me Crying," he calls her just to tell her he doesn't love her anymore. Why must you keep pouring salt in the wound? In "Found It in Silence," she went out looking for an honest man, but he didn't end up being everything she thought. Haim gets a little funky while they're "Walking Away" and channel their pain into anger in "Right Now." They end the album with "Night So Long," a slow dirge to the memory of your "shadow darkening the door." Haim is like a pair of super-cool jeans you shelled out extra bucks for, because they reminded you of your favorites from high school, and now, every time you look, you're delighted to discover another decorative grommet or hidden pocket. Which is to say, if you like them on first listen, do yourself a favor and hit repeat, and let yourself love them a little bit more each time.
(Polydor Records)


"Hug of Thunder" (Broken Social Scene)

Canadian alt-rock supergroup Broken Social Scene releases its fifth studio album, the first in seven years. The band is known for their "recklessly celebratory music" and in this long-awaited album, ringleader Kevin Drew energizes all 15 members to create some kind of response to the world we're living in. After the yoga-like instrumental intro "Sol Luna" they launch into the fast-paced "Halfway Home," with raucous drums moving things along. The female members (among them Feist) lead the charge in "Protest Song," singing very self-referentially, "we're just the latest in the longest rank and file list/ Ever to exist in the history of the protest song." "The sky waits for the fall, but you shouldn't have come at all," they sing in the slowed-down strummer "Skyline." Their "Stay Happy" seems almost absurdist with its peppy intro, only to cede to a breezy pop tune. That doesn't last long, though: their "Vanity Pail Kids" relies on the repetition of the phrase "you wanna be the size of..." (some qualifier) for the entire song, creating a not-unpleasant drone underscored with intense snare drum crescendos. The ladies return for the title track with its intense lyrics about survival "by the soundtrack made of our short lives." The complex fingerpicking in "Towers and Masons" propels it forward, as they sing sadly about how it's "easy to believe disaster tries" in the louche cut "Victim Lover." "Please Take Me With You" somehow manages to be a slow song and a fast one at the same time, due to an underlying dubstep beat. Feist adds her excellent voice to "Gonna Get Better," singing about how things are going to get better, if only because they can't get worse. They end the album with "Mouth Guards of the Apocalypse," with its somber picture of our current reality, that "the radio sounds like shit" and "words of hope are a joke for the numb." In today's world, maybe a supergroup is what we all need to get through.
(Arts & Crafts)


"Gracie and Rachel" (Gracie and Rachel)

Indie-pop duo Gracie and Rachel release their self-titled debut album, melding piano, violin and vocals in songs about art, with a Strokes-worthy black and white motif. The Brooklyn duo built out a loft to be their home and studio, so they could craft the full-length album. They kick things off with the intense cut "Tiptoe," singing self-referentially about, "blonde hair, blue eyes, violin and black and white/ short skirts, tight pants, clean shoes won't deliver the news." They follow with "Sing Song," which has an ironically jarring intro bebfore they launch into the lyrics, like "so we just move along and we just do it wrong, making mistakes, 'til mistakes help us write a song." It's all about finding a way to make it through life, all while making it seem like it's bigger than life. The strings arrangement is truly chilling. A trill of piano keys opens the lead single, "Only A Child" and this excellent playing moves into the next track, "Go," with its heartbeat percussion. Smooth violin opens "(Un)comfortable," as they blithely sing, "welcome to a world where what you get is what you see." They're not comfortable with how comfortable they are. Hearing Gracie and Rachel sing harmony together is a treat. She's got something valid to say, but she's too afraid to rock the boat in the choppy, intense cut, "It's Time," singing, "I'm a puppet hanging from my little strings, doing what I'm told." "Let It Out" is a percussive track that asks whether we're more at peace suppressing our inner thoughts, or letting them all out. The two really show off their vocal chops in the final track "Don't Know," demanding, "Who do you think are, looking at us that way?" It's an excellent debut album; one that makes you wish every band took this much care with their first release. The duo will play in Parker Press Park in Woodbridge, New Jersey on July 26.
(Self-released)


"Like a Woman" (Kacy Hill)

Model/singer Kacy Hill releases her long-awaited debut album "Like a Woman," 12 tracks dealing with intimacy, longing, heartbreak and exploration. Hill said the album "is an exploration of my own femininity and sexuality. Hill, Kanye West's prodigy, came to music after modeling for American Apparel and serving as a backup dancer for The Yeezus Tour. The title track "Like a Woman" is a passionate, slow-burning cut that showcases Hill's high vocal range. She goes for deep bass bombs while she asks, will you "Keep Me Sane"? "Don't tell me it's wrong when I need you when I used to live just to breathe you," she warns in "Cruel." Echo-effect keyboards open "Hard to Love," a sweet song about disappointment, with pleading lyrics like, "tell me nothing has changed, that words still hold all the same 'cause you, you make it hard to love." Hill says that his "lies have become nostalgia's muse." She gets a pop sound out of "Static," with its electro percussive effects and R&B drum line, asking him to "hold me closer, or let me go." She retreads familiar ground in "First Time" singing, "as long as I'm breathing for you, I need you, my love. And if you can't dream it, I'll dream for two." Hill takes on an inattentive lover who keeps her at "Arms Length" in one poppy tune, then is haunted by "Clarity" in a haunting track with bone-chilling lyrics like, "consuming silence until sound gives up the fight." She blends beats and electronica in "Lion" and lets her high voice get deeper in "Say You're Wrong," a song about a man who keeps his love as a disguise, unwilling to see the damage he does every day. She ends the album with "Am I," with its excellent instrumentation. She sings, "echoes of angels have cried to tell me the church and your gates are not mine, borrowed the tears from their pride, and man who neglects and makes woman a crime." Although Hill seems to tread similar ground in all of her songs, she delves deep and pulls out some intense sentiment, an excellent goal for a young singer/songwriter. While she may not fit in seamlessly with her new label mates, Kacy Hill possesses a strong singing voice, and is certainly one to watch.
(G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam Recordings)


"Future Friends - Part One" (Superfruit)

Superfruit, the pet project of Pentatonix founders Mitch Grassi and Scott Hoying, releases the first part of their two-part debut studio album, "Future Friends." Its seven wacky tracks are a dance party celebration in the making. They kick off "Imaginary Parties" singing, "go to imaginary parties in our make-believe Ferrari, Baby let's get fresh, I know we know how!" They get funky in "Bad For Us," singing about a dangerous love that they both want so bad. The Superfruits grind through the gears in "Worth It (Perfect)" until they get the sound they want, with humorous lyrics like, "you're not the only one riding shotgun these days in your car." They're coming for you, baby, in the bouncy pop cut "Vacation," singing, "he may be shy but he knows he's right." The sound effects on "Sexy Ladies" are hysterical, as they sing about spending three hours on your hair, but he doesn't even notice, cause "he don't appreciate you like a real man should." She wants to get to know her "Heartthrob" better in one dance club-ready track, and is ready to meet her "Future Friends" in another. Granted, it's a debut by two already famous and successful musicians, but this mini-album really kicks ass. We can hardly wait for Part Two.
(RCA Records)


Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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